“Liberia is exposed to natural hazards and climate-related risks including floods, windstorms, wildfire, and coastal erosion and, therefore, there is a need for collective partnership and coordination among state and non-state agencies in executing the assessment findings,” EPA Executive Director, Nathaniel T. Blama, said over the weekend.
The threats being faced are likely to worsen with climate change, which will have a significant impact on local communities’ livelihoods, he said.
In an effort to curtail such natural threats, the National Disaster Management Agency, in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), on October 26, 2018, launched the National Disaster Risks Assessment in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, through the hosting of an inception workshop under the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) project that is funded by the Green Climate Fund.
The National Risk Assessment process was led by an international consultant and supported by a multidisciplinary team of experts from government entities, aimed at filling the knowledge gaps with regards to Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies and operational guidance in the response to disasters.
The Deputy Executive Director for Operation at the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), Augustine Tamba, disclosed that the recent scale of coastal erosion, floods, and windstorms across the country demands collective action to avert a bigger disaster in Liberia.
Many homes in coastal areas across the country, including the Township of West Point and Buchanan City, have been affected by erosion, while heavy deluges caused by rain waters have also affected many communities in Monrovia and its environs in recent times.
Mr. Tamba said the NDMA, working in partnership with the EPA of Liberia and other stakeholders, is determined to ensure that under the National Adaptation Project (NAP), the government can develop an Integrated National Risk Assessment and National Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) strategy which is important for disaster reduction and response in the country.
Stakeholders representing government’s line ministries and local disaster management authorities from nine counties, including Maryland, Grand Bassa, Montserrado, Bong, Margibi, Grand Cape Mount, Sinoe, Lofa and Nimba, attended the occasion.
Government institutions, including the National Public Health Institute (NPHIL), EPA, Ministry of Defense (MoD), Liberia National Fire Service (LNFS), Liberia National Police (LNP), Forestry Development Authority (FDA), and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) were also represented at the ceremony.
Other institutions represented were the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS), Ministry of Gender, Children & Social Protection (MoGCSP), Ministry of Mines & Energy (MME), Liberia Scout Association (LSA), University of Liberia (UL), Ministry of Public Works (MoPW).
Participants obtained a better understanding of the purposes, guiding principles, and methodological framework of the National Disaster Risks Assessment.
Mr. E. Abraham Tumbey Jr., UNDP/NAP Project Manager, recounted the support the UNDP has provided NDMA, including the development of the National Disaster Management Policy and the setting up of the institution from the National Disaster Relief Commission.
Mr. Tumbey emphasized the importance of mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into national and sectoral development plans with the involvement of broad stakeholders, including policymakers, communities, research institutions, and civil society.
He noted that because of the strong link between climate change and disaster risks, the partnership between EPA and NDMA offers enormous potential for disaster risks reduction in Liberia.
Mr. Tumbey further explained that UNDP remains committed to working with stakeholders in Liberia in order to achieve the country’s development goals as well as the objective of the SDGs.